Craft CMS | Craft CMS Developer Benchmark

Craft CMS Developer Benchmark Results 2022

Matt
Matt Ellis December 19th, 2022
Craft CMS Developer Benchmark Results 2022 Preview

The Craft CMS Developer Benchmark 2023 is live

Take the survey now 👈

We’re so pleased to have been able to conduct the Craft Benchmark survey again. This year we’ve had 297 respondents from 35 countries – up 22% and 6% from last year respectively.

2022 has been a big year for Craft, with the release of both Craft CMS 4 and Craft Commerce 4.

We did this benchmark to:

  1. Give insight into the Craft CMS developer community
  2. Give ideas on how to use Craft CMS better
  3. Give ammunition for pitching Craft CMS to clients

We created this benchmark because:

  1. We're Craft CMS developers
  2. We believe the report will be helpful for the community
  3. We wanted to learn and get better at what we do – and hope you do too

And just to clarify – we have no association with Craft CMS or Pixel & Tonic.

Craft Benchmark Preview

Looking for last year's survey?

Who works with Craft CMS?

This section explores some aspects of who the Craft developer community is made of, covering business and demographics.

What describes you best?

Craft CMS tends to be used primarily by small agencies and freelancers, with 63% of respondents either working at or running an agency, and 23% being freelancers.

This is roughly the same as it was last year.

Bar chart of the type of Craft CMS developers.

What size is your agency?

For those working at or owning an agency.

Bar chart for the size of agency the Craft CMS developers work at (Mobile)

How many years of professional coding experience do you have?

Craft CMS developers tend to skew towards developers with more experience, rather than those just starting out.

Bar chart showing the number of year of professional coding experience the Craft CMS developers have. (Mobile)

How long have you been using Craft CMS?

Bar chart showing how long developers have been using Craft CMS. (Mobile)

Thanks for clarifying, Brandon 😉.

Approximately how many Craft CMS projects have you worked on in total?

Bar chart showing how many Craft CMS projects developers have you worked on in total. (Mobile)

Are you a Craft partner?

You can become a Craft CMS Partner via the official site.

Pie chart showing number of Craft CMS developers who are also Craft Partners.

We're Craft Partners

Check out the Honcho Craft Partner profile page. It's beautiful.

Demographics

Location

The largest groups of respondents are from the US or the UK – but the Craft community spreads all over the globe.

Map showing the location of where Craft CMS developers live.
Bar chart showing the location of where Craft CMS developers live.

Including everyone makes this chart really long – but there are also representatives from Croatia, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Romania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Israel, Japan, Jersey, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UAE and the Virgin Islands.

Age

8 Age M

Gender

A big jump up from last year for females, increasing from 3.1% to 14.8%. Why do you think this was?

Icons showing the percentage of gender split of Craft CMS developers. (Mobile)

What is built with Craft CMS?

Craft is an incredibly versatile tool, and we’ve definitely seen it pushed and pulled in a lot of directions to accommodate various business needs.

We wanted to know how Craft-focused the respondents are – whether they’ve gone all in on Craft, or whether Craft is one of several platforms used.

What types of websites do you build with Craft?

Many respondents mentioned “headless” or “API” sites in the custom responses.

Bar chart showing what types of websites developers build with Craft CMS. (Mobile)

What other CMS's have you developed for?

No surprises here that most people have also developed WordPress and ExpressionEngine sites given the history of Craft.

Many have also developed Shopify sites. Maybe that will change with Craft Commerce’s new first-party Shopify integration

Chart showing what other CMS Craft developers have developed for.

How many of your web projects were built in Craft?

Most respondents are building almost 100% of their sites with Craft, which is about the same as last year.

Around a quarter of people built a higher proportion of Craft CMS websites this year.

Of all the web projects you have worked on in the past 12 months – what percentage of them used Craft CMS?

Bar chart showing how many web projects were built in Craft CMS.

How did this compare to the number of Craft CMS projects you worked on in the previous 12 months?

13 Projects built in Craft Comparison M

What CMS is your agency / personal website built on?

Good to see that most agencies are building their own websites with Craft, with 69% of respondents doing so. It’s quite surprising to see 15% use no CMS at all. Not so surprising is 5% still hanging on to their old Wordpress site.

Many of the “other” responses noted their own websites were built with Sanity.

Icons of CMSs that developers use to build their own personal / agency website's with.

Your Craft CMS Setup

This section explores the various ways developers use Craft, covering how they kick off a new project, what database technology they use, and various other decisions.

Your development environment

Most developers use an Apple Mac.

Icons of operating systems that developers use to build Craft CMS projects.

What browser do you primarily develop Craft CMS websites in?

Most developers use Chrome.

Icons of browsers that developers use to build Craft CMS projects.

What IDE / code editor do you use for Craft CMS development?

Most developers use VSCode, followed by PHP Storm.

The only answer given for the custom editor is Nova.

A whopping 4 respondents use Notepad++.

Icons of code editors / IDEs that Craft CMS developers use.

What local environment software do you use for developing Craft CMS projects?

Most developers are now using DDEV – with 15% still using Nitro despite it being EOL.

RIP Nitro 🪦

What local environment tool do you use for working with databases on Craft CMS projects?

The most popular SQL software are:

Icons of database software that Craft CMS developers use for their projects.

Your Craft CMS set up

When starting a project how do you download Craft CMS?

9/10 users start their build process with Composer. Many of the custom answers mentioned a boilerplate repo, which may well also use Composer too.

19 How do you download Craft CMS M

Craft Tip

It's down from last year, but there's still 4% of respondents get started on Craft CMS projects by manually downloading it.

Check out the helpful docs on the Craft CMS site for using the Composer method.

Do you use a Craft CMS 'boilerplate' for starting new projects?

72% of respondents use some sort of starter repo, with 67% of them rolling their own code and 5% using an existing boilerplate.

28% of users start from scratch each time. Mentalists.

20 Do you use a Craft CMS boilerplate M

Of the 5% who clone an existing starter repo, here are the most popular:

Icons showing popular starter Craft CMS plugins.

How do you run the Craft CMS Setup Wizard?

22 How do you run the Craft CMS Setup Wizard M

What database option do you use for Craft CMS projects?

Less than 10% have adopted Postgresql.

MySQL is the favourite with MariaDB a close second.

Icons of databases that Craft CMS developers use for their projects.

Project Config

Do you use Craft CMS's Project Config?

Almost 90% of respondents use the project configuration either all the time or most of the time.

We think it’s one of Craft’s best-selling points and couldn’t imagine #devlife without it.

Of the people who don’t use it, we’d love to know why. Maybe we’ll put that in the questionnaire next year.

Bar chart showing Craft CMSs Project Config usage.

Do you allow config admin changes on production?

The Project Config works best when clients can’t make changes on production, so it makes sense that there’s a strong correlation here about permissions.

25 Do you allow config admin changes on production M

Frontend technology

What frontend Javascript libraries / frameworks / tools do you typically use with Craft CMS?

Since our 2021 survey, we’ve added Alpine and Svelte to the options for this question.

Alpine was the horse to back, coming in at second place behind vanilla JS.

Svelte didn’t quite have the pickup coming in at only 8th place. Vue and React have stayed about the same usage since last year.

2022

Icons of frontend JS libraries developers use on Craft CMS projects (2022)

2021

Icons of frontend CSS libraries developers use on Craft CMS projects (2022)

What frontend CSS frameworks do you typically use with Craft CMS?

The CSS framework results are almost identical to last year, with 69% of developers using Tailwind.

We've adopted Tailwind and love it.

Down slightly from last year (43.2%) – but we're still staggered by the number of developers choosing to roll their own CSS (39.4%).

2022

Icons of frontend CSS libraries developers use on Craft CMS projects (2022)

2021

Icons of frontend CSS libraries developers use on Craft CMS projects (2021)

Techniques and choices

This section is all about the choices developers make when building their web projects.

Where do you define Craft CMS Routes?

Many people noted that they don’t need to define custom routes, as Craft’s native section routing does everything they need.

We’ll be sure to make that an option next year.

28 Where do you define Craft CMS Routes M

Where do you define Image Transforms?

A common theme in the custom responses is that many people define transforms in their own custom configuration, module, or macro.

At Honcho, we use a config object defined in a JSON file.

29 Where do you define Image Transforms M

What plugins do you use for Image Transforms?

The most popular plugins for image transforms are

Icons showing image transform plugins developers use with Craft CMS.

Clients

This section covers how developers work with the clients, in terms of creating the best experience for them, and contracts.

Do you give your clients' full Admin accounts?

Most people here opt for never or occasionally, clearly erring on the side of caution.

31 Do you give your clients full Admin accounts M

Do you customise the Entry column views in the Craft CMS Admin?

Craft CMS allows you to customise which columns are displayed in which entry sections in the CMS, to only show the relevant data to your clients.

We love this feature and apparently so do most respondents.

Pie chart to show the percentage of developers customise Craft's Entry column views.

Do you add your client's logo to the Craft CMS Admin Login page?

We find a nice way to make a web project feel polished is to add the client’s logo to the login screen.

33 Do you add your clients logo to the Craft CMS Admin M

How do you update Craft CMS?

Only 2 of you are on Santa's naughty list this year.

Bar chat showing how developers update Craft CMS.

Use of Craft’s features

This section covers some of Craft’s most popular features and takes a look at how some of Craft 4’s features have been adopted.

Have you updated a website to Craft 4?

70% of users have updated a site to Craft 4, and it sounds like it was mostly pretty smooth sailing.

Nobody gave the upgrade process less than 2 out of 10, with most giving 7 or above.

Bar chart showing the percentage of developers that have upgraded to Craft 4.

Out of 10, how smoothly did it go?

A stat showing the average score that developers gave when assessing how smoothly an upgrade to Craft 4 went (7.9/10).

Have you built in Craft 4 from a fresh install rather than upgrading?

82% of users have also created a new Craft 4 project from scratch

Pie chart showing the percentage of developers that have build Craft 4 from a fresh instal (as apposed to an upgrade).

The most loved features of Craft 4 are:

38 The most loved features of Craft 4 M

Shiney new Craft 4 stuff aside, most people’s favourite features of Craft are:

  • Twig
  • Content Modelling
  • Developer Experience
  • Matrix
39 Favourite features of Craft M

The use of Twig is something that we immediately fell in love with, moving from inline PHP in WordPress.

The templates are loads cleaner and more maintainable.

The powerful native content modelling and matrix are also reasons we’ve never looked back.

Are there any Craft CMS core features you've not used yet?

  • GraphQL API / Headless Mode
  • Developer Support Services
  • Tags
  • One-Click Updating
40 Are there any Craft CMS core features youve not used yet M

Have you ever used Craft CMS's GraphQL API?

Pie chart showing the percentage of developers that have used Craft CMSs Graph QL API.

Have you ever used Craft CMS as a 'headless' CMS?

Pie chart showing the percentage of developers that have used Craft CMS as a headless CMS.

Craft CMS plugins

We wanted to find out a bit about how Craft developers use plugins.

It was interesting for us to discover some plugins we’d not heard of, as well as see some popular favourites like SEOmatic and Blitz.

What Craft CMS Plugins do you always use when starting a new project?

This gives some interesting insight into what plugins developers feel are an essential part of any web project.

The most popular plugins that tend to be in developer’s starter repos are:

  1. SEOmatic, by NYStudio107
  2. Super Table, by Verbb
  3. Typed Link Field, by Sebastian Lenz
  4. Neo, by Spicy Web
  5. Retour, by NYStudio107
  6. Imager X, by Space Cat Ninja
  7. Navigation, by Verbb
  8. Vite, by NYStudio107
  9. Formie, by Verbb
  10. Sprig, by PutYourLightsOn
Icons of starter plugins for Craft CMS.

Most popular Craft plugin developers

We looked at all of the plugins mentioned in the above question, and here are the developers that other developers depend on the most.

44 Most popular developers M

Most popular starter plugins by Category

SEO Plugins

Plugins that handle all of your SEO needs.

  1. SEOmatic by NYStudio107
  2. SEO by Ether Creative
  3. SEOMate by Værsågod

Matrix Alternatives Plugins

Though Craft’s native Matrix field is very powerful and very useful, there have been a few attempts to rework the way content is handled and solve the question of matrix inception. Here are the most popular alternatives.

  1. Super Table by Verbb (82 mentions)
  2. Neo by Spicy Web (39 mentions)
  3. Vizy by Verbb (4 mentions)

Link Fields Plugins

A field type that handles different types of links is a great addition to Craft.

  1. Typed Link Field by Sebastian Lenz (63 mentions)
  2. Linkit by Pressed Digital (15 mentions)

404 and Redirect Plugins

Instead of managing redirects in your server configuration, a few plugins exist that can handle this and also log 404s.

  1. Retour by NYStudio107 (39 mentions)
  2. Redirect Manager by Dophiq (6 mentions)

Form Builder Plugins

  1. Formie by Verbb
  2. Freeform by Solspace
  3. Express Forms by Solspace
  4. Wheel Form by Wheel Interactive

Image Optimisation Plugins

  1. Imager X by SpaceCatNinja
  2. Image Optimize by NYStudio107

Have you ever written a Craft CMS plugin or custom module?

Around 76% of developers have written their own plugin, but only 31% have shared it with the world.

This is roughly the same as the 2021 results.

45 Have you ever written a Craft CMS plugin M

Do you have a plugin published on the Craft CMS Plugin Store?

Pie chart showing the number of Craft developers that have plugin published on the Craft Plugin store.

Craft Commerce

Craft Commerce is first-party eCommerce plugin for Craft CMS.

Have you worked with Craft Commerce?

Bar chart showing the percentage of Craft CMS developers that have used Craft Commerce.

What other E-Commerce platforms have you tried?

A whopping 18% of developers have built their own eComm platforms.
Icons of eCommerce platforms developers have tried.

If you didn't use Craft Commerce, what would you use?

Shopify is the favourite backup option if Craft Commerce is not available.

Icons of eCommerce platforms developers choose when they don't use Craft Commerce.

Why did you choose Craft Commerce?

"Hate WordPress and Magento – our past solutions"

– A Craft developer

"Flexibility, content plus commerce combined"

– An Other Craft developer

"Customisability, able to have a unified platform with CMS"

– Your mum

What could Craft Commerce do better?

"Subscriptions"

– A Craft Commerce developer

"So much, it’s not evolving. Inventory, CP orders experience, reports, cost, ease of use etc"

– Mag Ento

"E-commerce onboarding (what it is, what you need, not dev related)"

– Mrs S Hopify

Services, SASS and Hosting

In this section, we’ll look at the results around what external services and tools our respondents use.

Where do you usually host your Craft CMS project repo?

Bar chart showing where Craft CMS developers host their project repos.

Where do you host your clients' Craft CMS sites?

42% of respondents are using DigitalOcean for hosting.

Servd has doubled since last year’s survey, jumping from 9% to 18%! Well done Matt! 💪

Another honourable mention from the “other” box was Krystal.

Bar chart showing where Craft CMS developers host their projects.

Where do you host your Craft CMS site Asset volumes?

It’s pretty even for images being stored locally or on an AWS S3.

There’s a slight increase in using external services, with local web server storage dropping around 10% since last year.

Bar chart to show where Craft CMS developers host their project's Asset volumes.

Business time

Here we’ll look at the internal operations of the respondents, relating to contracts and pricing.

What's the average price for one of your Craft CMS websites?

The average price of a site is fairly wide, which is to be expected given Craft’s versatility.

Bar chart to show the average price / cost of a Craft CMS project.

How often do you run maintenance on your clients' Craft CMS sites?

Another 6 to add to the naughty list.

Bar chart to show how often developers run maintenance clients Craft CMS sites.

What percentage of your client's Craft CMS sites are on maintenance contracts?

A bar chart showing the percentage of clients that are on a maintenance contract.

How do you train your clients' to use Craft CMS?

A chart showing how developers train their clients on Craft CMS.

How do you find selling Craft CMS to clients?

Bar chart showing how developers find selling Craft CMS to clients.

How do you handle Craft CMS and Plugin licence fees?

Bar chart showing how devs handle Craft CMS and Plugin licence fees.

Client feedback

At the end of the day the client is the one who’s going to benefit from all that Craft has to offer, so we felt it was important to get some data about this.

What are your clients' general feelings towards using Craft CMS?

Bar chart showing the clients general feelings towards using Craft CMS.

From your clients' feedback what would you say are their top 3 features of Craft CMS?

61 Their top 3 features of Craft CMS M

How do your clients generally find the Craft CMS content authoring experience?

Pie chart showing the how clients find the Craft CMS content authoring experience.

Learning Craft CMS

What resources do Craft CMS Developers use to learn and get support?

What resources do you use to learn Craft CMS?

Incredible that NYStudio107’s blog is a more popular resource than the Craft CMS Stack Exchange – great work Andrew!

Bar chart showing what resources developers use to learn about Craft CMS.

What do you think of the Official Craft CMS Documentation?

64 What do you think of the Official Craft CMS Documentation M

Where's your first port of call when you need Craft CMS support?

Bar chart showing where Craft CMS developers look for support first.

Have you used the free Craft CMS Developer Support Services support?

Bar chart showing if Craft CMS developers use the free Craft CMS Developer Support Services.

Have you used the paid Craft CMS Developer Support Services support?

Bar chart showing if Craft CMS developers use the paid Craft CMS Developer Support Services.

Have you ever attended a Craft CMS Meetup?

Around a third of Craft CMS developers have attended a Meetup, and they’re spread all over the world, with Belgium and London the most attended.

Bar chart showing is Craft CMSs developers have been to a Craft CMS Meetup.

Coolio! Which Meetups have you been to?